- It turns out the iconic cast of “Friends” could have looked very different if it wasn’t for a last-minute audition.
- Speaking to The Guardian, Mitchell Whitfield, who played Rachel’s jilted ex-fiance Barry Farber, said he got right down to the last stages of testing for the character of Ross on the show.
- At the last minute, he said the producers brought in one more actor to read – and it turned out to be David Schwimmer.
- Farber still landed a part in the show, but only appeared in six episodes.
What would “Friends” be without its original cast?
The iconic band of Joey, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, and Rachel made the show into the powerhouse that ran for 10 seasons and, last year, caused Netflix to spend $US100 million for the streaming rights.
Arguably the most important plotline of the entire show was the Ross and Rachel saga, which has since become synonymous for a “will-they-won’t-they” relationship.
That saga, the show, and, ultimately, Ross could have looked very different, though, The Guardian revealed on Wednesday.
As part of a series of interviews with some of the show’s lesser-known characters, The Guardian spoke to Mitchell Whitfield, who played Rachel’s jilted ex-fiance, Barry Farber.
Farber said that he originally auditioned to play Ross and Chandler in the show: “I went back multiple times, and then they realised Ross was the role for me.”
Farber got to the very end of the auditions, which saw the producers go through hundreds of actors, and was even testing for the show when they decided to give one more actor a shot.
“At the last minute, they said: ‘We’re bringing in one more guy to read.’ That guy turned out to be David Schwimmer,” Farber said.
Farber ended up making minor appearances in six episodes of “Friends” across seasons one and two.
Other revelations from the interviews include Cosimo Fusco, whose character of Paolo has a brief relationship with Rachel in season one, saying that Jennifer Aniston “basically cried in my lap” when they announced the show had been commissioned for 12 episodes.
Jane Sibbett, who played Ross’ lesbian ex, Carol, also said she had her real-life child just two days before starting work on the show.
“My son was born on 10 September 1994. The next day, my agent called and said: ”Friends’ has come back around again; they have let go of Anita Barone and would like you to take over the part tomorrow,'” Sibbett said.
“I said: ‘Wow, I’m kind of sore! I don’t think so.’ But my agent said: ‘Jane, this is a huge offer. They have said they will go easy on you, and you can bring your nanny.'”
Sibbett added that it was David Schwimmer’s performance that convinced her to take the role: “I knew I had to work with him.”
The recurring theme across the various interviews is how close the leading cast of six was.
“They were a united group. They would watch each other’s work. If someone had a scene they weren’t in, the others would watch it and laugh. It’s very unusual to be so supportive of each other on set,” said Christina Pickles (Judy Geller).
“They would make fun of each other. If someone made a joke and it didn’t work, they’d all turn on the person and be like: ‘You blew it, Lisa!’ They would bust each other’s balls,” said Paget Brewster who played Kathy – Joey and then Chandler’s girlfriend in season four.
Vincent Ventresca, who played Monica’s boyfriend “Fun Bobby,” summed up the show’s continuous success, saying: “Things don’t change as much as you think they do. What’s important to us: friendship, family, community and laughing at silly situations. That’s what ‘Friends’ is all about. And that’s timeless.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.